San Diego is partying like it’s 1998.
The Padres have been owned by the Los Angeles Dodgers for a long time, but in this NLDS, they rewrote the script.
With Saturday’s 5-3 win, the Padres took down the 111-win Dodgers in four games to advance to their first NLCS in 24 years.
The Dodgers loaded the bases with no outs in the seventh inning, but only managed to get one run across. The Padres jumped.
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A walk and back-to-back singles put the Padres on the board, and after Ha-Seong Kim doubled, the deficit was cut to one, and the tying and lead runs were in scoring positions.
Juan Soto, with first base open, then singled to tie the game – and there were still zero outs.
The next two Padres were retired, but after Soto stole second, Jake Cronenworth lined a single up the middle to score two runs and give San Diego a 5-3 lead.
At the start of the eighth inning, there was a torrential downpour, and the field became a swamp. But that didn’t affect Robert Suarez, who sat the Dodgers down in order in the eighth. Josh Hader did the same in the ninth, striking out all three batters he faced, and the celebration was on.
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Freddie Freeman drove in two runs with a double in the third. Outside of that, though, Joe Musgrove was great. He allowed just those two runs on six hits while walking three and striking out eight. In Ty Anderson’s five scoreless innings, he struck out six Padres and allowed just two hits and two walks. Surely, Dodger fans are doubting Dave Roberts right about now.
The Dodgers finished 22 games ahead of San Diego in the NL West standings. The Padres went 5-14 against Los Angeles in the regular season. From 2011 to the start of this series, the Padres were 72-148 against the Dodgers.
But all it took to throw the narrative out was one best-of-five series.
So many times in recent years, mostly out of desperation, did Padres fans chant “Beat L.A.”
They finally have.
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The Padres and Philadelphia Phillies, who are the fifth and sixth seeds in the National League respectively, will kick off the NLCS on Tuesday in San Diego.